Emerging research has shown that women who use chemical hair straighteners frequently are at an increased risk of developing cancer and other serious health issues as a result of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals they contain. For some women, this meant undergoing a hysterectomy in order to treat their reproductive health issues. As a result, many women have sustained substantial financial, physical, and emotional losses.
If you have frequently used chemical hair straighteners, whether at home or in the salon, and you have developed cancer of the reproductive system, you may have the right to seek compensation in a chemical hair straightener lawsuit. Our team can assist you in pursuing compensation and holding negligent makers like L’Oreal accountable. You can schedule a free consultation with our team to learn more about how our services can help maximize your compensation.
Defective Chemical Hair Straighteners Contain Carcinogens
Chemical hair straighteners are primarily used by women as a semi-permanent way to style their naturally curly hair. These types of products are most commonly used by Black women. Researchers warn that this puts them at a higher risk for certain types of cancer. The cancers and reproductive health conditions tied to using chemical hair straighteners include:
- Uterine cancer
- Uterine sarcoma
- Uterine fibroids
- Endometrial cancer
- Ovarian cancer
While Black women may be more likely to use chemical hair straighteners at an earlier age, more frequently, and for a longer period of time, any woman who uses chemical hair straighteners 4 or more times a year is at twice the risk of developing uterine cancer than that of a woman who does not use these products, according to a new study conducted by the NIH.
Multiple toxic chemicals have been found in these defective hair care products. Researchers believe that these harmful chemicals are wreaking havoc on the body’s endocrine system, which regulates hormones. In turn, the hormone imbalance caused by the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) leads to the out-of-control replication of damaged cells. The cancerous cells may then spread to other parts of the body. One of the most effective treatments for many of the cancers resulting from exposure to these EDCs is a hysterectomy.
What is a Hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy involves surgically removing the uterus, but it may also include the removal of other reproductive organs. Once a woman has undergone a hysterectomy, she can no longer have children, and more extensive forms of this surgery can have additional health implications. Potential side effects of hysterectomy include:
- Risk of infection
- Pain during sex
- Blood clots
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Organ damages
There are different degrees of hysterectomy. Total hysterectomies involve removing the uterus and the cervix, which may be used to treat uterine cancer. If the cancer has spread to the ovaries, a surgeon may perform a hysterectomy with an oophorectomy, which removes the uterus, cervix, and ovaries. The surgeon may also remove the fallopian tubes at this point.
In severe cases, it may be necessary for the surgeon to perform a radical hysterectomy. Radical hysterectomies remove the uterus, cervix, the upper part of the vagina, and other nearby tissue. The surgeon may also deem it necessary to remove the pelvic lymph nodes, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Finally, a supracervical hysterectomy is most commonly used to treat uterine fibroids and endometriosis, both of which are non-cancerous conditions.
Recovering Damages in a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit
When one party’s negligence results in another party’s injury, the injured party usually has the right to pursue compensation for their losses, which are referred to as damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Women who receive hysterectomies to treat their reproductive health issues often incur significant economic and non-economic damages.
The plaintiffs in the chemical hair straightener lawsuits are seeking reimbursement for their economic damages, which are financial losses related to their injuries. Undergoing a hysterectomy can have a profound emotional impact and impose physical limitations, in addition to the financial costs of surgery. These types of costs are accounted for with non-economic damages, which do not have established monetary values.
Examples of Damages in a Chemical Hair Straightener Lawsuit:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital stays
- Lab tests
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Job-related losses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Missed promotions
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of services and support
- Loss of parental guidance
- Funeral and burial costs
Your damages will be evaluated in the context of your life. What this means for you is that your chemical hair straightener settlement’s value may differ from other plaintiffs with similar injuries depending on how your injuries have affected your lifestyle, career, hobbies, relationships, and health. A personal injury lawyer is best suited to calculate how much your damages are worth and then advocate for maximum compensation for your damages in a chemical hair straightener lawsuit.
Plaintiffs Seek Consolidation of Chemical Hair Straightener Claims
A group of plaintiffs in the chemical hair straightener lawsuits has petitioned the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to condense their claims into a multidistrict litigation. Multidistrict litigations are often used to avoid overwhelming the court system with similar interactions of the same issue, as well as to standardize settlement outcomes amongst plaintiffs.
The JPML began the process of hearing oral arguments on January 26th, 2023 in Miami, Florida. The representatives of the plaintiffs argue that these cases are based on similar claims of negligence and that the injuries the plaintiffs sustained are similar.
The defendants in the chemical hair straightener lawsuits have protested that the research plaintiffs are relying on does not provide evidence of specific brands or products correlated with the injuries the plaintiffs have experienced. They also argue that not enough plaintiffs have filed claims to justify a multidistrict litigation. Whether or not the JPML decides in the plaintiffs’ favor and consolidates the chemical hair straightener lawsuits remains to be seen.
Establishing Liability in a Product Liability Claim
Product liability claims, like other civil claims, require the plaintiff to prove that a preponderance of the evidence supports their claim. Additionally, the basis of the claim must fall under one of three types of product liability claims. In the case of the chemical hair straightener lawsuits, plaintiffs are arguing that the makers of these products should be considered negligent because they failed to add a warning label to their chemical hair straighteners.
If the plaintiffs are able to demonstrate that the defendants breached their duty of care to consumers, they must then show that their negligence directly resulted in the injuries sustained. In this scenario, plaintiffs claim they would have been able to avoid the reproductive health issues they suffered from if they had known that the chemical hair straighteners were dangerous. Finally, plaintiffs needed to provide evidence as to how their injuries resulted in the damages they incurred.
Women who have been diagnosed with reproductive health issues including cancer after using chemical hair straighteners should seek out the legal advice of a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. A product liability attorney will have the necessary expertise to negotiate for maximum compensation, investigate the claim thoroughly, and protect your rights. Our team is available to schedule a free consultation with one of our product liability lawyers to discuss the process of filing a chemical hair straightener claim.